“Get up! Call on your god!” It is ironic that it is a pagan sailor who has to urge Jonah to pray. This is interesting because even if Jonah was not concerned for his own life he should have been concerned for the life of the ship’s crew. It is possible that Jonah was so sound asleep and/or was not used to sailing and was below deck that he was not aware of the danger to the ship and crew. The Bible only tells us he was asleep. In Jonah 1:2 God told Jonah to “get up,” and here the captain does, using the same words.
It is noteworthy that the captain said, “Call on your god.” The captain was an experienced man and had just come from Joppa, the port of Israel at that time. He likely knew that Yahweh was the god of Israel and would have also known that none of the crew of his ship were worshippers of Yahweh. The captain was concerned for his crew and ship, and did not want to let there be any god of anyone on the ship who was not appealed to for help, so he demanded that Jonah get up and pray to his god, Yahweh. The phrase, “Call on your god,” refers to prayer (see commentary on 1 Cor. 1:2).